Elisabeth Crank is a part-time North London police officer who’s portrait was on display at the National Portrait Gallery in London. Her portrait was part of a one-of-a-kind series by Susan Aldworth of three people living with epilepsy.
Elisabeth is a very special woman, she only acquired epilepsy at age 25 . Her first seizure came while having lunch with fellow officers. Her head nearly landed in her lunch.
After her first seizure she was diagnosed with epilepsy and began treatment for her seizures which were well controlled with AEDs although she suffered side effects. After suffering a miscariage that was possibly linked to her taking a low dose of carbamazepine, she decided to not take any medication during her next pregnancy without telling anyone, not even her husband.
“The second trimester was particularly bad. I had three to four seizures a week and afterwards the headaches, dizziness and tiredness would last 24-36 hours. I never really recovered from one seizure before the next came. I couldn’t be left alone for long. My mum had to come and stay often, and I stayed with my parents if my husband couldn’t be there to help.”
Lack of understanding among some General Practitioners midwives and social workers may mean women get misguided advice, he says. He knows of women who have been advised not to start a family at all – something he believes is profoundly wrong. Women who are told, also wrongly, to come off their drugs may die as a result of their seizures, he warns. Prolonged attacks can be fatal if they cause injuries, heart or breathing problems or swelling of the brain.
Elisabeth’s full story is featured in this article by the Telegraph (UK): http://www.telegraph.co.uk/health/women_shealth/9950244/I-have-epilepsy-and-risked-all-to-protect-my-unborn-child.html